Inspiration: The Thiel Fellowship, fighting the stereotype that you need a college degree to be successful.

Here’s some inspiration for your “Judge Me” submission, due March 7th. The theme of the show is prejudice & we challenge you to choose a form of discrimination you personally experience and address the bias.

Some people may assume someone who doesn’t have a college degree is less successful than a person with one. In high school, students are put under a tremendous amount of pressure when applying for colleges. College = your future. College is when you will find yourself, your life’s meaning, and get rocketed on a path to a lucrative career. If you don’t go to college, then you’re a deadbeat who is stuck pumping gas.

The Thiel Fellowship is changing the way we view the role of formal education in success. The fellowship award is sort of like venture capital seed money. Select recipients receive $100,000 to tackle a project their are passionate about for two years.

There is one simple rule: you have be under 23 years old to apply. Skip college and apply for the Fellowship instead. If you are passionate about something and are willing to work hard, why spend four years filling out scantrons?

From the Thiel Foundation website:


The Thiel Fellowship gives $100,000 to young people who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom.

College can be good for learning about what’s been done before, but it can also discourage you from doing something new. Each of our fellows charts a unique course; together they have proven that young people can succeed by thinking for themselves instead of competing on old career tracks.

Many graduates of the program have successfully started their own companies. No formal college degree (or the boring auditorium lectures) needed.

If I could go back in time, I wish I had applied!  I’m the youngest of four sisters in my family and all three of them have graduate or doctorate degrees. So when I was in college, I always thought I was going to go to graduate school.

After I graduated and started working at littleBits, I changed my mind. I was learning so much by working at a startup. I was given a lot of responsibilities that I knew nothing about and that no one could teach me at the time. In the startup atmosphere, I felt energized to problem solve and figure things out by myself. With all of the information and tutorials on the internet, I feel like I can learn anything.

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